SIOUX CITY – With the situation the way it is, every game is a playoff game for the Bishop Heelan High School football team.
Sitting with one loss in Class 3A District 1, the Crusaders need to win out and hope the computers crunch their numbers at the end of next Friday’s games if they hope to reach the playoffs.
Seventh-ranked Heelan took care of business Friday, downing Storm Lake 31-6 at damp and cool Memorial Field. The Crusaders moved to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in district play heading into a road game at Spencer in the regular season finale next week.
Drew Olson ran for a pair of touchdowns and the Heelan defense was outstanding once again. Storm Lake scored a touchdown with six seconds left in the game to avert a shutout.
“I thought we came out pretty strong against a good Storm Lake football team,” Heelan Coach Roger Jansen said. “We got into that penalty rut again and we’re not good enough to get those penalties and try to make up that yardage. But we fought. Homecoming is a tough week and I really think these kids buckled down.
“Defensively they had an outstanding game. And we made some plays offensively but we just can’t get behind the chains.”
Penalties have been a bugaboo for the Crusaders all season and miscues stalled a couple of scoring opportunities. However, the Crusaders produced enough offense to keep their postseason hopes alive.
“It was a really good game, we fought hard and started out really well like we wanted to and finished really well,” said senior Jake Beaulieu, who hauled in a touchdown pass and intercepted a pass. “We worked very hard tonight and got the win.”
Olson, a versatile senior with breakaway speed, lined up at quarterback for a number of plays and took advantage of that speed. He sped for a 27-yard touchdown on Heelan’s first possession of the game and added a 51-yard burst up the middle midway through the second quarter.
Junior Brant Hogue, the other Crusader signal-caller, tossed a pair of scoring passes and completed 11 of 24 for 144 yards. Hogue hooked up with tight end Dawson Fenton for an 18-yard score to give Heelan a 13-0 lead and connected with Beaulieu on a 33-yard pitch-and-catch early in the fourth quarter.
Jesus Pena added a 32-yard field goal for the only scoring of the third quarter.
Tommy Schiltz rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries, running his season total to 903 heading into the crucial contest at Spencer. Olson finished with an even 100 yards on seven carries.
Beaulieu, defensive lineman Tyson Strohbeen and Andrew Tobin each intercepted passes. The Crusaders had constant pressure on Storm Lake sophomore Mark Eddie, whe threw the last-second touchdown pass to Mach Nyaw. Eddie passed for 84 yards while Cole Wiegert had 43 rushing yards for the Tornadoes (4-4, 1-3).
Spencer beat Le Mars on Friday so the Tigers and Heelan will head into next week’s game tied with 3-1 district records.
“We have to go on the road and Spencer is a very good football team,” Jansen said. “We have to come ready to go and our defense will definitely be challenged. We’re going to have to play very disciplined and offensively wee’ll have to clean things up and get into a groove.
“We’re treating it as a playoff game, so let’s go up there and let the chips fall where they may.”